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Shamrock Rovers left 'astounded' by FAI's change to U14 league
Rovers described it as ‘a completely random, ill-thought-out decision made by the FAI Board’ to push the competition back to next summer.

SHAMROCK ROVERS SAY they are “astounded” by the FAI’s decision to delay the national U14 league until next summer, therefore truncating the league season for players at the age grade.

Originally scheduled for March, the competition will start instead in July in order to accommodate the Kennedy Cup. This is a departure from the national underage competitions calendar, with the scheduling of U14, U15, U17 and U19 competitions having been agreed upon in July.

Rovers allege that the decision to push back the U14 league “was made within an FAI Boardroom meeting and handed down without any consultation”. In a strongly worded statement, the League of Ireland Premier Division champions described it as “a completely random, ill-thought-out decision made by the FAI Board.”

The club has called on Roy Barrett, the independent chair of the FAI, to explain to move.

“Shamrock Rovers F.C. is astounded by the decision taken by the Board of FAI to divert from the agreed National underage competitions calendar and introduce what can only be described as a ‘mini league’ in the national U14 League competition from 2022,” the statement began.

“The club calls upon Roy Barrett, as independent chair of the FAI, to explain fully the reason why this age group should play a different calendar to all other National League competitions and why are they being denied the opportunity to maximise their talent playing a full season of football?

“The scheduling of U14/15/17/19 competitions was agreed on by the NLEC as far back as August 2021. All clubs have subsequently assembled their squads in readiness for the start date of March 2022 as per other seasons. Player registrations were signed from 1 December – in the same week as this decision was made within an FAI Boardroom meeting and handed down without any consultation.

This decision affects the players – children aged 13/14 are being obstructed in developing their talent by a completely random, ill-thought-out decision made by the FAI Board.

Rovers continued: “We understand that that this decision was taken against the advice of senior FAI officials as well as National League Clubs who, through the NLEC, adopted the schedule for 2022 underage last August by deciding to replicate the 2021 season with a full suite of U14, U15, U17 and U19 National competitions. It seems that the expertise, knowledge, and good faith of all these people/entities has been ignored by the FAI Board for reasons we simply cannot fathom.”

“Transparency is a must on this decision, as it is with every decision taken at Board level.

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“We ask for the decision to be reversed for the benefit of the children representing the clubs involved in this competition.”

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